This weekend is the start of Sunshine Week. Sunshine Week is devoted to the truth and the public’s right to know. It’s all about focusing on government – on the local, state, and federal level – and making sure that government is responsive to you, the people. These weekly reports are part of our mission to make government transparent, accountable, and driven to serve.
Tonight, Saturday March 11th, 2017 at 6:00pm I will be hosting a town hall at the Doles Center. I’ll be joined by my Commissioners and Department Heads. So, come with your questions. Come with your ideas. Come with your thoughts. We look forward to seeing you tonight and discussing how we can all work together to move Mount Vernon forward. Join us online or in person! – Mayor Richard Thomas
EPA Sewers: The aging sewer system in Mount Vernon is a matter of serious concern and the city has been on notice for years that it must be repaired. This week, the Office of the United States Attorney advised that time is up in a conference call attended by the City Council and Comptroller Maureen Walker. Mount Vernon’s leaking and aged sewer systems can no longer be ignored. We cannot afford to ignore this costly environmental hazard.
At this Tuesday’s Board of Estimate and Contract meeting, the executive branch will present emergency authorization resolutions to repair our sewer system. All residents and elected officials, especially those that spoke with the U.S. Attorney, should appreciate the gravity of this situation. It is the belief of the Thomas Administration that the legislative and financial branches of government will support the necessary emergency authorization. Non-compliance with the U.S. Attorney is not an option because the fines and penalties will bankrupt the city and the pain caused to the people of Mount Vernon is unacceptable. The truth is this expensive situation was avoidable.
Leadership of the Mount Vernon Police Department: City Hall was saddened this week to learn that Deputy Commissioner Ronald “Ronnie” Fatigate has elected to head back into retirement. Deputy Commissioner Fatigate originally retired from the MVPD in 2010. He came out of retirement – with the understanding that he was not seeking a permanent appointment – to help this city. All of Mount Vernon is grateful to him for his decades of service. Deputy Commissioner Shawn Harris will lead the department in the interim.
Many of you are asking – where does this leave the Department? The Thomas Administration has been engaged in a nationwide search for a candidate who has the vision and discipline to transform our department; someone who can embrace the challenges and use the tools and resources of 21st Century law enforcement that is necessary to lead our department now and into the future. Click here to read more about the important work our Public Safety Review Commission has been doing and here to hear from Acting Commissioner of Human Resources Milissa Ralph about the extensive process this search requires.
Department of Public Works Update: Last week’s snow fall was brief but there is a rumored nor’easter for Tuesday. Mount Vernon’s Department of Public Works has ordered 400 tons of salt to be prepared should heavy snow hit our region. DPW will update residents as the storm gets closer with any additional news, parking restrictions, etc. Last November, the Department ordered GPS trackers for all sanitation vehicles so residents can monitor what streets have been plowed and when. GPS technology is also essential to fleet management. But this equipment has yet to arrive. The Department has submitted this invoice over four times to the Finance Department. Comptroller Maureen Walker has not paid the bill for this equipment. This is another example of the Comptroller making decisions about city operations and governance that are not hers to make – she is not the management of DPW, she is not the Mayor, and she is hurting residents who are entitled to a transparent and responsive government.
Earlier this week, crews from the Department of Public Works, the city’s Water Department and Con Ed worked in unison to repair a water main break which threatened gas lines. Fixing these aging pipes required a lot of hard work, traffic mitigation, and overtime as crews worked around the clock. Click here for a video of behind-the-scenes at this week’s water main break.
Mount Vernon Fire Department: Firefighter King Thomas visited with middle and high school students at the Doles Center for the Youth Bureau’s “Work Shop Read.” event. Firefighter Thomas, in his third year as one of Mount Vernon’s bravest, spoke about his career as a firefighter and what it takes to become a firefighter. Also, several firefighters and Fire Commissioner Ted Beale attended code training classes.
Memorial Field News: Our Wall of Legends continues to grow. This week, artists added two more Mount Vernon heroes – Rodney and Scooter McCray. The brothers are legends on the basketball court and men who consistently give back to their community. The wall is growing just in time because the Circus is coming to town!
From May 16 to May 21st, the UniverSOUL Circus will be putting on a show and the location is Memorial Field! It’s wonderful that the Field will be a source of pride and community togetherness again. Mark your calendars, Mount Vernon, because you have a date on Memorial Field.
Community Workshop: The City of Mount Vernon is hosting a community workshop, at Benjamin Turner Middle School (Longfellow), to hear your ideas and options regarding the Canal Village area of the City. The Department of Planning and Community Development has secured two grants from NYS for community planning and revitalization efforts for the industrial area in the City’s eastern boundary. The city is dependent upon all stake holders in our community – residents, property and business owners, neighbors, workers, service providers and students who work or live in the area to help shape the vision for the industrial neighborhood and the Hutchinson Creek Waterfront. Please join us Thursday, March 16th at 6:30pm. All are welcome. Click here for information and to sign up!
Special Recognition: Congratulates to Pastor Carlton Spruill for 30 years of spiritual leadership at the Allen Memorial Church of God in Christ. Pastor Spruill has been a source of great wisdom for our community. Religious leaders are a vital part any community. They teach us how faith is ever powerful and guide us through the peaks and valleys of our lives. If your pastor, priest, rabbi or imam is celebrating a religious anniversary, let us know! MayorThomas@cmvny.com or 914-665-2361.
Mayor Thomas and Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness: Listen to us live: Every week, Mayor Thomas speaks to Westchester On the Level on WHYT Radio Internet radio with host Hezi Aris: Catch this week’s interview here for an unvarnished look at what’s happening in Mount Vernon: This week’s topics include the groundbreaking economic development taking place in the city and the need for a comprehensive plan. Mayor Thomas also hosts Mount Vernon Moving Forward every Friday on WVOX-1460 AM, from 5 to 6pm. You can listen to this week’s show here for an in-depth discussion about the city’s cable franchise agreement renewal, our website upgrade, and the importance of public access to information.